Vehicle collision sparks mass riot in Azerbaijan

Several law enforcement officers were injured during the disturbance that started after a hotel owner crashed his sports car and got into a fight with another motorist.

BAKU, Azerbaijan — Police in Azerbaijan said a mob in a central town torched a hotel and several cars in a rampage provoked by a minor vehicle collision.

Ismayilli district police said Thursday that several law enforcement officers were injured while trying to restore order overnight.

Trouble began when the owner of a local hotel reacted to his sports car veering onto a sidewalk and colliding with an electricity pole and got into a fight with another motorist. The dispute spiraled, leading to thousands of residents raiding the hotel and setting alight the owner's cars.

The crowd later assaulted the son of a district official.

Although the rioting does not appear to have been politically motivated, it highlights widespread frustrations over the disparity between the poor and wealthy in the oil-rich former Soviet nation.

 

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